When to plant hanging baskets - experts reveal the perfect time to add them to your outdoor space

Seamlessly connect your home to your garden

Hanging basket next to pink front door
(Image credit: Future PLC / Polly Eltes)

Whether you want to jazz up your porch or you want to add some more colour to a small garden, hanging baskets can work wonders. But do you know when to plant hanging baskets?

It’s all well and good knowing how to plant a hanging basket, but planting it at the wrong time is one of the biggest hanging basket mistakes you can make. Plant too early, and you may find that your flowers succumb to the cold. Plant too late, though, and you won’t be able to reap the rewards of this nifty garden idea

To help you choose the right time to plant hanging baskets, we’ve spoken to some of the best gardeners in the business. And they’ve shared their handy tips below. 

When to plant hanging baskets

‘Hanging baskets offer a delightful blend of colour and charm, seamlessly connecting your home and garden while providing additional space for plants,’ explains Tony Williams, Estate Manager at Mount Ephraim Gardens

And while you can make the most of winter hanging baskets when looking to add some colour to your garden during the colder months, hanging baskets are more commonly associated with spring and summer. This means that your plant options (and their requirements) will change. 

Tony says, ‘Many of the favoured plants for these displays are sensitive to cold and could be harmed by frost. Therefore, it's important to avoid setting them outdoors prematurely.’

‘If you're equipped with a greenhouse, you have the advantage of starting your baskets in the early spring. This allows your plants to mature under protection, ready to be moved outside by the end of May or early June once the threat of frost has passed by.’

Christmas hanging basket with heather, ivy, pansies and decorations

(Image credit: Future PLC)

This makes planting your hanging basket the ideal job to do in the garden in May. You don’t have to wait too much longer if you don’t have the greenhouse in your garden, though.

‘For those without a greenhouse, waiting until late May or early June to plant and then immediately placing your baskets outdoors is the safest approach.’

Waiting for late spring to plant your hanging baskets also means that you can enjoy the sunshine in your garden while you’re planting, but that’s not the only benefit. It also means that you get to take advantage of the spring and summer flowers that arrive during this time. 

After all, Tony would suggest planting fully-fledged plants rather than seeds or spring bulbs for these hanging baskets. 

Hanging basket next to pink front door

(Image credit: Future PLC)

‘Selecting the right plants is crucial for creating a visually appealing hanging basket,’ he says. ‘Plants propagated from cuttings typically offer superior results over those grown from seeds.’

To get the best results, you should also try mixing your varieties and combining different-sized plants and flowers for visual appeal. This is echoed by Kate Turner, Gardening Guru at Miracle-Gro

She says, ‘When planting, arrange taller plants in the centre and trailing plants around the edges to create a balanced and visually appealing arrangement.’

‘Consider adding slow-release fertilizer or liquid fertiliser to provide nutrients for healthy growth and vibrant blooms,’ she also adds.

Of course, you also need to make sure that you choose plants that have similar growing requirements. 

headshot of Tony Wiliams
Tony Williams

Tony is a keen and experienced gardener who has worked in horticulture across a variety of sites, including Canterbury Cathedral.  He is extremely interested in sustainable gardening and strives to avoid polluting chemicals in fertiliser and pest control. He is dedicated to preserving natural resources and reducing water waste wherever possible.


What month do you put hanging baskets out?

Ideally, you should wait until late May or early June to hang your hanging baskets up in your garden. This will ensure that the temperatures are warm enough for the plants to thrive and that the risk of frost has passed.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t plant them earlier than that, though. If you have a greenhouse, you can start planting your hanging baskets in March. Just make sure that you keep them covered and protected in the greenhouse until May or early June when you can then pop them outside. 

How many plants should I put in a hanging basket?

This depends on the size of your hanging basket, but the general rule of thumb is that you should plant one plant per inch of basket diameter. This means that if you have a 12-inch hanging basket, you should plant 12 plants in there. 

Of course, it’s not advisable to add any more than that as the plants will struggle to compete for water and nutrients. But if you prefer a sparser look, you can certainly get away with less than that. 

Happy planting! 

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.